Quick Takes: Sessions Stomps on the American Dream

A roundup of news that caught my eye today.

* The so-called “American Dream” has always been about the idea that anyone in this country who works hard and plays by the rules can get ahead. When it comes to immigrants, that ideal was beautifully captured by the poem The New Colossus that is inscribed on the Statue of Liberty. The Attorney General of the United States stomped all over those ideals last night.

* This comes from Hawaii’s senior senator.

Cotton tends to go where Trump goes, so…

* Jonathan Swan got the scoop about how Steve Bannon slipped up during his testimony in front of the House Intelligence Committee.

Steve Bannon made one conspicuous slip up in his closed-door hearing on Tuesday with the House Intelligence Committee, according to four sources with direct knowledge of the confidential proceedings. Bannon admitted that he’d had conversations with Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer and legal spokesman Mark Corallo about Don Junior’s infamous meeting with the Russians in Trump Tower in June 2016.

Why it matters: The meeting — and the subsequent drafting of a misleading statement on Air Force One — has become one of the most important focal points of the Russia investigations, both on Capitol Hill and within Robert Mueller’s team, because it provides the closest thing that exists to evidence that the Trump campaign was willing to entertain collusion with Russians.

* This is becoming a pattern for the Trump administration.

Three-quarters of the members of a federally chartered board advising the National Park Service abruptly quit Monday night out of frustration that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke had refused to meet with them or convene a single meeting last year.

The resignation of nine out of 12 National Park System Advisory Board members leaves the federal government without a functioning body to designate national historic or natural landmarks. It also underscores the extent to which federal advisory bodies have become marginalized under the Trump administration. In May 2017, Zinke suspended all outside committees while his staff reviewed their composition and work.

In a letter to the secretary, departing board chairman Tony Knowles, a former Alaska governor, wrote that he and eight other members “have stood by waiting for the chance to meet and continue the partnership . . . as prescribed by law.”

* For some reason this song has been on my mind today – can’t seem to figure out why.

* Finally, today is Michelle Obama’s birthday. Given what prompted me to think about that old song, I have a hunch that she would be pleased if we all spent a few minutes reminding ourselves of what she said in New Hampshire at a critical point in the 2016 election.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.